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Um m3 terminator

An Ultramarines Terminator wearing Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour with Power Fist and Storm Bolter.

Terminator Armour, officially designated Tactical Dreadnought Armour, is an advanced form of powered combat armour developed for close-quarters melee and ranged fighting done by Space Marine Terminators, for whom slaying power is more important than maneuverability.

These suits are primarily utilised in situations where standard Space Marine power armour does not provide enough protection for a warrior.

Imperial Fists Vet Terminator Armor

An Imperial Fists Assault Terminator in Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour with Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield.

When battle calls for durability and protection over agility, it is to revered suits of Terminator Armour that the Space Marines turn. Massively thick armour plates and powerful servo-muscles drive these defensive shells, and only the best and bravest of a Space Marine Chapter may don this ancient and sacred battle-harness.

BL Chaos Termi

A Black Legion Chaos Terminator in Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour.

Terminator Armour is an incredibly durable suit comprising an outer shell of heavy-gauge ceramite-plasteel composite plates, mounted on an adamantium exoskeleton with servo-assisted interfaces that integrate with an Astartes' own neurological and muscular systems to enhance movement.

Its advanced composition allows the wearer to survive hits from firepower that could penetrate even the armour of a tank, and it is the heaviest combat armour in any Imperial arsenal, able to withstand tremendous punishment. Offensively, it provides the strength to maintain mobility while serving as a solid heavy-weapons platform in open-field combat.

The elite 1st Company of most Space Marine Chapters uses Terminator Armour extensively, and only those Astartes who earn the Crux Terminatus, a special badge of honour said to contain a fragment of the power armour worn by the Emperor of Mankind when he defeated Horus at the end of the Siege of Terra, are permitted to wear it. It is said that the Crux Terminatus behaves as a ward that augments the Terminator Armour itself, capable of turning aside blows that would threaten even a war engine.

In the Era Indomitus of the 41st Millennium, both Firstborn and Primaris Marines can serve as Terminators. Not even Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl was able to improve upon the ancient and sacred Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour. Any Veteran Marine can earn the right to don a suit of Tactical Dreadnought Armour, so veterans of the Tyrannic Wars and the Indomitus Crusade alike are clad in these suits of revered ceramite.

Less frequently, high-ranking members of the Inquisition have been known to wear a form of Terminator Armour sized for an ordinary Human occupant. Notably, members of the Ordo Malleus in particular have been known to favour suits of Terminator Armour. However, lacking the genetically-engineered subdermal Space Marine organ known as the Black Carapace, Inquisitors are unable to neurologically interface with the armour, and generally find its bulk much more cumbersome than a Space Marine does.

Amongst the Traitor Legions that still reside within the hellish realm known as the Eye of Terror, only aspiring Chaos Champions or Chaos Lords who stand in great favour to the Ruinous Powers wear Terminator Armour. So scarce is Terminator Armour among the Heretic Astartes that sometimes an Aspiring Champion can only claim a suit for himself by killing the current wearer, whether in ritual combat or by more devious means. Chaos Terminators will often act as the personal guard of such an esteemed Champion. Within a warband of Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Terminators enforce the will of their leader and always claim the most valuable spoils of any victory.



A comparison of the size classes of various Adeptus Astartes armours as displayed by the Ultramarines; from left to right, a Mark V Castraferrum Pattern Dreadnought, a Centurion, a Terminator in Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour, a Space Marine in Mark VII Aquila Power Armour, and a Scout Marine in Scout Armour.

Space Marine power armour has a long and glorious history, having its origins in the long-forgotten time before the Emperor's unification of Mankind on Terra during the Unification Wars fought by his legions of gen-enhanced pseudo-Astartes, known as the Thunder Warriors.

Nothing is known of this time, but it is speculated that the first suits of human-developed powered armour were worn by the techno-barbarians that fought alongside the Emperor as he battled to bring Terra under his rule during the Unification Wars of the 30th Millennium. Over time, these suits were refined and improved, becoming the earliest incarnations of fully enclosed power armour.

The first suits of Space Marine power armour were developed from this armour during the late 30th Millennium, and were said to have been worn by the first Space Marines of the Legiones Astartes as they launched the Great Crusade to reunite the worlds of the Sol System under the Emperor's control. Legends tell that once the Terran Solar System was secure, and the process of rebuilding firmly in hand, galactic conquest began in earnest.

Faded techno-arcana of the Adeptus Mechanicus tell that even before the Age of Strife had ended, the Emperor had started to make provisions for his Great Crusade.

Part of these plans included the re-equipping of the Space Marine Legions with a far more sophisticated fighting suit that Imperial historians have dubbed Mark II "Crusader" or "Crusader Armour".

Justaerin Termi Wargear

A Sons of Horus Legion Justaerin Veteran Marine during the Horus Heresy wearing singularly-modified Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour, armed with a Phobos Pattern Combi-Melta and an Artificer-wrought Power Axe based on the Carsoran Pattern.

Alongside these developments, the Emperor initiated a programme to develop a system of armour that would provide even greater protection than that offered by power armour for Space Marine Legionaries on the field of battle.

The technology for Exo-armour was originally developed during Mankind's Age of Technology. These sealed environment suits enabled maintenance crews of spacecraft to operate in extremely hazardous environments such as hard vacuum or in other adverse atmospheric conditions.

Exo-armour was constructed from heavy gauge plasteel plating, forming an armoured shell that could withstand even the colossal impact of high-speed orbital micro-debris.

It is the only armour suitable for working inside the high-pressure casings of plasma reactor shields, or the extremely corrosive environments inside the holds of bulk chemical carriers. These same qualities, suitably enhanced, were used to make Tactical Dreadnought Armour virtually invulnerable to most weapons.

The development of Terminator Armour, as Tactical Dreadnought Armour soon became known, was well underway during the Great Crusade to replace power armour, but was relegated to its current role due to a lack of maneuverability.

During the Great Crusade era, the ancient Mechanicum was receiving a steady influx of new and rediscovered technologies from each planet brought to Imperial Compliance, and, in an effort to stem the horrendous loss of Astartes lives resulting from the ferocious conquests, attempted to design the "ultimate" pattern of power armour which would render a Space Marine virtually invulnerable.


An Ultramarines Terminator in Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour armed with a Storm Bolter and a Power Fist. In the Era Indomitus, both Firstborn and Primaris Veteran Marines can serve as Terminators.

The design emerged from a hybrid of standard Astartes power armour, the cybernetic shell of a Dreadnought and the armoured hostile environment suits long worn by Terran engineers who worked in difficult conditions like debris-plagued orbital space and the radioactive engine cores of interstellar spacecraft. "Tactical Dreadnought Armour," as it was called, would turn the Astartes warrior within it into a living tank.

The eventual result of the Mechanicum's travails was only a partial success: the first suits of Terminator Armour did, as intended, afford a level of protection previously unattainable for its wearer.

Like power armour, these suits were equipped with fibre-bundle synthetic muscles and imposed few movement restrictions upon the wearer despite their immense weight. But they were also too bulky, and their massive weight made running difficult despite built-in auto-balancers.

The suits suffered from voracious power demands, and few existing armaments could be carried as the armour's sheer bulk made handling and reloading impossible.

But most importantly, the sheer amounts of raw materials and manpower required to craft Terminator Armour were so great that retrofitting the whole of the existing Space Marine Legions with it was simply not feasible for the already thinly-stretched logistics of the nascent Imperium of Man.

Several patterns of Terminator Armour evolved in parallel from the Forge Worlds of the Mechanicum and the armouries of the Space Marine Legions. The Mechanicum refined their concept, and developed weapons specially adapted for it, like Combi-weapons and the Reaper Autocannon.

Terminator Armour was then presented in limited numbers to the crusading Legions, who quickly found a use for it. Massively armoured, sealed against any hostile environmental conditions and incorporating their own heavy ranged or close combat armament, Terminator Armour designs soon proved their worth.

BA Termi closeup

Close-up of Blood Angels Indomitus Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour

Terminator Armour, with its ability to maximise the firepower and protection for a Space Marine, became standard on missions in extremely confined spaces like the corridors of a hive city, or during a boarding action on a space hulk where Dreadnoughts and armoured vehicles could not operate because they were too large to fit.

Anecdotal evidence of this adaptability and willingness to embrace new weapons of warfare can be found in Horus' vocal backing of the Tactical Dreadnought Armour project, with the result being that his Luna Wolves Legion was one of the first and most widely equipped with Terminator Armour and at the forefront of the development of tactics for its use in assaults.

By the time the Horus Heresy erupted and the Arch-traitor Horus first struck a blow against the Emperor during the Isstvan III Atrocity, these heavily armoured suits had become widely available to the Space Marine Legions.

According to fragmented records of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Terminator Armour was originally designed to be the ultimate Space Marine power armour, and was envisioned to replace the older suits.

However, as the Horus Heresy devoured the Imperium's resources, and the ancient Mechanicum divided into separate factions during the Schism of Mars, Terminator suits became increasingly rare, for they were exceptionally difficult to create and maintain.

In addition, during most battles their bulk became a disadvantage against the lighter power-armoured warriors who easily outmanoeuvred them. These suits were highly sought after, and they were used to great effect in the countless bloody and short-ranged battles waged in cramped conditions, such as boarding actions in ship-to-ship engagements, hive cities and tunnel fighting. It is in these kinds of engagements that Terminator Armour excels, as it is under these conditions that their bulk and sturdy frame serves best.

Very few suits of this early Terminator Armour were ever manufactured by the Mechanicum before the Horus Heresy began, and the secrets of the technology's design have now almost been lost. As a result, every suit of Terminator Armour is treated as an irreplaceable, precious relic by the Space Marine Chapters that own them.

In the 41st Millennium it is a rare thing to see a "new" suit of Terminator Armour. If an additional suit is required, it is usually cobbled together from refurbished parts salvaged from the remains of Terminators killed in action.

Indeed, as time marches onward, the knowledge of how to fabricate some of the more complex pieces of Terminator Armour has become only a desperate hope in the minds of the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus, whose understanding of science and technology has been slowly decaying for the last 10,000 standard years.

Due to the amount of labour required and the difficulty of reproducing a single suit of Tactical Dreadnought Armour, this armour is only produced in extremely small numbers.

There are dark rumours that Heretek Warpsmiths within the Eye of Terror may also possess some rare copies of the original STC blueprints, thus making it possible for them to reproduce new suits of Terminator Armour for the Chaos Space Marines of the Traitor Legions as well.

Terminator Armour Composition


Space Marine Terminator Armour being equipped to an Astartes

Terminator Armour contains a full exo-skeleton and a complex arrangement of fibre-bundle muscles that allow a warrior to fight with deadly skill in close quarters, where agility is not of paramount importance.

These incredibly durable suits are comprised of an outer shell of heavy-gauge ceramite and plasteel composite plates, mounted on an adamantium exoskeleton with servo-assisted interfaces that integrate with an Astartes' own neurological and muscular systems to enhance movement.

Its advanced composition allows the wearer to survive hits from firepower that could penetrate tank armour, and it is the heaviest form of combat armour in any Imperial arsenal, able to withstand tremendous punishment. Offensively, it provides the strength to maintain mobility while serving as a solid heavy-weapons platform in open-field combat.

In the same manner as power armour, Terminator Armour contains its own independent power supply and fully enclosed life-support functions, though those incorporated in Terminator Armour are more powerful and longer-lasting.

Various augers and auspex enable the Space Marine operator to be fully aware of his environment, both externally and internally, and to monitor such things as radiation levels, proximity of biological entities and the life signals of the body.

These operate in the same way as the support systems in power armour, although several other devices have been added to improve the protective aspects even further. Teleport Homers enable the bearers to teleport into the midst of battle with a good degree of accuracy.

Meanwhile, threat detectors and motion sensors aid the Space Marine in avoiding enemy weapon emplacements and other situational dangers. In addition, the suit is fully equipped with a range of auto-senses and targeters, allowing the tracking of targets with the utmost accuracy.

Terminators are linked to each other with pict-display units, allowing the Space Marines to see what their brother warriors see. All suits are capable of this, but to avoid confusion, it is usual for only the squad sergeant's armour to broadcast pict-signals.

Terminator Armour Usage

UM 1st Co

The elite 1st Company of the Ultramarines utilising Terminator Armour during the Battle of Macragge

A Chapter's elite 1st Company is known as the Veteran Company and contains its bravest and most heroic battle-brothers. Many of these Veteran Marines will have risen to the rank of Veteran Sergeant before being inducted, though less experienced Space Marines are often accepted into its ranks for performing acts of exceptional courage.

These Space Marines are mighty heroes whose legendary actions have become part of the Chapter's history, and it is every warrior's ambition to become one of their Chapter's elite. The 1st Company is invariably the most powerful company in the Chapter, as many of its warriors are trained to take to the field of battle wearing Terminator Armour.

All Space Marine Chapters maintain a number of suits of the revered and rightly feared Terminator Armour, and these are amongst a Chapter's most prized relics.

Suits of Terminator Armour are rare and highly sought after, and as such, each Chapter carefully maintains the suits in its possession. Incredibly ancient, the secrets of their construction have long since been lost and each one is revered by the Space Marines and lovingly maintained by the Chapter's Techmarines. The armour is often ancient, and many of the older suits were produced before the Horus Heresy.

Although new suits of the Indomitus Pattern are manufactured by the Adeptus Mechanicus, the production rate is so slow and the demand for them so great that each Chapter takes the utmost care of its precious remaining suits. Each suit has a special place of honour within the 1st Company's chapel and only warriors of the 1st Company and selected senior commanders may enter the Armoury and don these holy artefacts.

It requires rigorous training to be able to fight in Terminator Armour and, once trained in its use, a Space Marine will be expected to perform above and beyond his brethren, acting as an example to the rest of the Chapter.

Less frequently, high-ranking members of the Inquisition have been known to wear a form of Terminator Armour sized for an ordinary Human occupant. Notably, members of the Ordo Malleus in particular have been known to prefer them because of their struggles with often physically-overpowering Daemons.

However, lacking the genetically-engineered subdermal Space Marine organ known as the Black Carapace, Inquisitors are unable to neurologically interface with the armour and generally find its bulk much more cumbersome than a Space Marine does.

Honour Badges

Crux Terminatus

Crux Terminatus

A Crux Terminatus

Amongst the Veteran Marines of the elite 1st Company, each Terminator badge upon an Astartes' left shoulder guard is a special badge of honour made of stone, known as the Crux Terminatus and said to incorporate fragments of the power armour worn by the Emperor of Mankind when He defeated Horus at the end of the Siege of Terra. The Crux Terminatus now serves as a constant reminder of the Emperor's noble sacrifice for Mankind.

Crux Argentum badge 1

A Crux Argentum, a silver Crux Terminatus adorned with additional ornamentation

At the climax of the Horus Heresy, when the Emperor was mortally wounded following Horus' defeat, it is said that the Emperor decreed that His armour be taken off and melted down, and that the pieces be made into badges that all Terminators could wear in recognition of the service performed in the defeat of Horus.

However, if this is true, then each suit of Terminator Armour must only contain the most miniscule of fragments. It is said that the Crux Terminatus behaves as a ward that augments the Terminator Armour itself, capable of turning aside blows that would threaten even a war engine.

Elements of the Crux Terminatus, on the shoulder plate of a Terminator, can be adorned with additional ornamentation in recognition of acts of supreme valour.

One such adornment is the Crux Argentum, a shoulder badge of silver encrusted with gems that is awarded to Space Marines who perform acts of valour above and beyond the call of duty.

Tactical Usage

Almost all Space Marine Chapters maintain some suits of Terminator Armour and usually train their Veteran Astartes in their use, despite the armour's rarity. Terminator Armour is worn in very specific circumstances, such as when the close corridors of a hive city or space hulk need to be cleared.

Astartes wearing normal power armour would not be ideal in such a role; instead, they would form a cordon around the Terminators while they carried out their search-and-destroy mission.

In the 41st Millennium, Terminator Armour has become so rare that its use is reserved for those times when it will provide the maximal tactical benefit.

Terminators are best used during starship boarding actions where the cramped conditions and tight starship corridors maximise the effects of a Terminator's superior firepower while downplaying his lack of maneuverability, as the environment means flanking attacks are unlikely.

Terminator Armour is also deployed into combat on standard battlefields when their heavy weapons can be used for long-range strikes, or they can use teleporter technology to suddenly appear amidst a vast group of enemies where their near-invulnerability to damage can transform them into true force multipliers with little risk of their own loss.


Terminator Armaments

Example armament utilised by the Terminator-armoured Veterans of the Blood Angels' elite 1st Company.

Squads of Terminators are most often employed in boarding actions or where the fighting is certain to be close and bloody. Although they can also be equipped with weaponry that allows them to fight at longer ranges, it is brutal assaults that they are primarily designed for.

Terminator Armour can carry a variety of weapon fits, but the most common armament is a Storm Bolter and Power Fist. This configuration allows a Terminator to engage the enemy at long range while advancing, before delivering a devastating assault with the deadly energies of a Power Fist -- a weapon capable of tearing through the hull of a battle tank with ease.

Some Space Marines opt to carry a chainfist instead. These weapons have a similar effect to Power Fists, but are equipped with an additional massively powerful Chainblade attachment that can carve through the armoured bulkheads of a mighty starship.

Within each squad, one Space Marine is often assigned a fire support role. The armour's massive fibre-bundle muscles and integrated suspensor fields allow a Terminator to carry a much heavier array of weaponry than his power-armoured brethren.

Such warriors may carry the dreaded Assault Cannon to lay down a hail of heavy shells, a Heavy Flamer when the fighting is certain to be at extreme close quarters and the enemy closely packed, or a Cyclone Missile Launcher to engage heavily armoured targets at long range.

Certain squads of Terminators are also configured specially for close combat, with no ranged weaponry whatsoever. These squads are most often teleported into battle where the enemy cannot engage them with long-range firepower before the Terminators attack. The most favoured configuration for these squads is either a pair of Lightning Claws -- multiple, fist-mounted blades sheathed in lethal energy that can cut through armour and flesh with equal ease -- or a Thunder Hammer and a Storm Shield.

This latter configuration is usually employed when the enemy is likely to make use of weaponry that may defeat even the formidable armour of a Terminator. A Storm Shield contains a small power field generator that can protect a warrior in melee and is proof against even the most lethal close combat weapons.

The Thunder Hammer it is commonly paired with is a deadly weapon that releases a terrific blast of energy upon impact; those it does not kill, vehicles and the living alike, are rendered incapacitated.



A Spartan Assault Tank about to deploy a Legion Terminator Squad during the Istvaan III Atrocity

Unlike Space Marines in power armour, Terminators are bulky and slow-moving. As a result, methods have been developed to allow the squads to reach the enemy in enough strength to prevail.

Terminator Armour is designed to allow its wearer to utilise the technology of teleportation, and through this sometimes treacherous method of transport, Terminators may teleport right into the heart of the enemy battle lines.

Although teleportation can be far from accurate, it is often the best way to get Terminators into the thick of the fighting quickly. Teleportation is a barely understood science, and the technology is far from perfect. Many Chapters of Space Marines -- such as the Space Wolves -- have a healthy distrust of such things and refuse to use it.

For Chapters like this, the more common method of deployment for battle remains the more straightforward Land Raider Spartan heavy-assault transport. In this way, Space Marines in Terminator Armour can reach the heart of the battle in relative safety.

The Land Raider is one of, if not the most powerful tank in the Imperium's arsenal, able to withstand the impact of a Battle Cannon and barely be slowed. These tanks were designed primarily to enable Terminator Squads to travel in safety through the very worst warzones.

They are equipped with frontal assault ramps that deliver the warriors within straight into the thick of the fighting. In addition, the most common pattern of Land Raider is armed with powerful Lascannons, and can act as mobile fire support for the Terminators once they have disembarked.

There are also many other Land Raider variants, but one of the most common is the Land Raider Crusader, a pattern developed by Marine-Artificer Simagus during the Jerulas Crusade of the Black Templars Chapter. This crusade involved the besiegement of many heavily fortified bastions of a Hive World and enabled the Sword Brethren Terminators of the Black Templars to penetrate the enemy lines with relative ease.

With an increased transport capacity and weaponry designed to inflict maximum casualties amongst nearby infantry, many other Chapters quickly adopted this Land Raider pattern.

Another more recent development is the use of Storm Wing Squadrons. Comprised of a Stormraven gunship and two Stormtalon escorts, these squadrons have proven exceptional in countless shock assaults.

The superb manoeuvrability of a Stormraven twinned with its capacious transport bay is a potent combination -- so potent, in fact, that it is considered too valuable of an asset to be used lightly.

Despite the variety of heavy armaments it boasts, the most deadly of the Storm Wing Squadron's weapons is the cargo it carries. Within the cabled belly of a Storm Wing Squadron's Stormraven is a squad of elite battle-brothers wearing Terminator Armour, waiting for their chance to charge forth to mete out vengeance to the enemies of the Imperium.

Because of the front-heavy design of the Stormtalon and the assault ramps that serve as its jaws, as soon as the aircraft settles upon its landing gear and its prow yawns wide, the unit inside can hurl themselves straight into combat, potentially changing the tide of battle within a few seconds of their arrival.

So effective is the sudden onslaught of a Storm Wing Squadron that Traitors, Heretics and xenos warriors alike have learnt to fear them, cowering at the triple silhouette and roaring afterburners of their approach.

Terminator Armour Variants

Designed during the Great Crusade and adapted from the heaviest of industrial gear, several types and patterns of Terminator Armour were developed concurrently. Tactical Dreadnought Armour has evolved over the centuries and each of the First Founding Legions has had their own deviation from the standard pattern Terminator Armours of the time.

There are, according to fragmented Imperial sources, four other patterns of Terminator Armour in existence, but these have yet to be publicly outlined by the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Some have been reported to be used by the Dark Angels, Ultramarines and Blood Angels Chapters, but they may or may not have been variants of the standard Indomitus Pattern.

The different Terminator Armours that have seen service with the Legiones Astartes and the Adeptus Astartes since the founding of the Imperium of Man include:

Indomitus Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour


A Veteran Astartes of the Dark Angels Deathwing company in Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour, armed with Storm Bolter and Power Fist.

Originally designed during the Horus Heresy to replace the severe losses on both sides as the civil war dragged on, most of the Traitor Legions' Chaos Terminators now use Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour, and it is also the pattern most commonly employed at present by the Adeptus Astartes because its template is held on many key Forge Worlds such as Mars.

The most widespread pattern of Terminator suit used throughout the Imperium, Indomitus Terminator Armour features large rounded pauldrons and an iconic helmet design that resembles the face of a long-extinct species of Terran canid. On each suit's left shoulder always sits the revered Crux Terminatus.

In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, the Ultramarines pioneered the widespread use of Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour as their Legion was unable to replace the older patterns of Terminator Armour after the loss of many important Forge Worlds during the war.

Presently, the Iron Hands, Minotaurs, and Salamanders Chapters are among those that do not have a full 1st Company's worth of Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour for various reasons.

The Iron Hands do not field Terminator Squads and only their officers wear Terminator Armour; the Minotaurs were granted their suits of Terminator Armour by the Inquisition; and the Salamanders encourage their elite Battle-Brothers to manufacture their own arms and armour, leaving their Techmarines free to construct and maintain older and more complex wargear.

Cataphractii Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour


A Pre-Heresy Ultramarines Legion Terminator wearing Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour.

The Cataphractii Pattern of Terminator Armour was originally a prototype for the later patterns of Terminator Armour that was used by the Space Marine Legions and the warriors of the Legio Custodes throughout the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.

This slab-shouldered pattern of Terminator Armour was similar in many ways to the standard Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour used in the 41st Millennium but is easily identified by its double layer of curved ceramite pauldrons and the pteruges of adamantium thread that cover the suit's few vulnerable joints in the elbows and thighs.

The suit's oversized pauldrons are not without purpose, housing additional shield generators, though the added weight and power requirements of such reinforced protection comes at a cost in speed and manoeuvrability. The helmet resembled that used by the Mark III Iron Pattern suit of power armour.

Although the use of the Cataphractii Pattern was rare before the Horus Heresy, some Legions, such as the Sons of Horus and the Iron Hands, possessed a large number of these suits. The Iron Hands Legion passed on these suits to their Successor Chapters during the Second Founding.

Aquilon Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour


A Custodian of the Tharanatoi caste of the Legio Custodes outfitted in Aquilon Terminator Armour.

Aquilon Pattern Terminator Armour is a variant pattern of Terminator Armour uniquely designed to operate in conjunction with the physiology of the Adeptus Custodes, the elite cadre of genetically-engineered transhuman warriors who are responsible for guarding the Imperial Palace and the physical body of the Emperor of Mankind.

The origins of the Aquilon Pattern lie with the Cataphractii Terminator suits of the ancient Space Marine Legions, but the Aquilon Pattern is a masterwork variant that possesses far greatly augmented power capacity and customised neuro-fibre uplinks which it is said were redesigned by the mind of the Emperor Himself for His elite forces.

Aquilon Pattern Terminator Armour was said to have adjusted for the enhanced physique of the Custodes, who were capable of bearing more weight and strain than even Space Marines. This allowed it to be fitted with additional power systems and capacitors, increasing its durability and maneuverability.

Aquilon Pattern Terminators were given more advanced weaponry than their Astartes counterparts, wielding weapons such as Lastrum Storm Bolters, Solerite Power Gauntlets, Power Talons, Infernus Firepikes, and twin-linked Adrathic Destructors. Within the ranks of the ancient Custodes, Aquilon Pattern Terminator Armour was deployed by the Tharanatoi caste.

Allarus Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour


An Allarus Custodian of the Adeptus Custodes in Allarus Pattern Terminator Armour.

Allarus Pattern Terminator Armour is currently used in the 41st Millennium by the Allarus Custodians of the Adeptus Custodes, the praetorian guard of the Emperor of Mankind.

The Allarus Pattern is an expertly crafted form of Terminator Armour whose worth can be measured in worlds. Driven by magnatomic generator-shrines, articulated with Leonus-class actuators, and fashioned from layered auramite and adamantium, Allarus Terminator Armour is a marvel of craftsmanship.

It provides its wearer with an exceptional range of movement and near-unencumbered speed, augmented strength and resilience, and the survivability to stride unharmed from the blast of a Macrocannon shell.

Coupled with the protective blessings of the Emperor, Allarus Terminator plate is arguably the most effective man-portable combat armour in the entire Imperium. Just as well, for the battles fought by Allarus Custodians demand nothing less.

Gorgon Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour


A Terminator of the Iron Hands Legion in Gorgon Pattern Terminator Armour.

A variant of Indomitus Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour devised by the Iron Hands Primarch Ferrus Manus and his Iron Fathers, this advanced prototype suit was just going into production at the outset of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium to supplement the Iron Hands Legion's combat-depleted stocks of Terminator Armour.

The design replaced the field generators embedded in standard Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour with experimental Conversion Field systems that converted incoming electromagnetic and kinetic energy into bursts of blinding light, able to incapacitate and maim nearby foes.

However, the heat and electrochemical toxin fallout produced by these systems required the wearer to undergo extensive bionic surgery in order to wear the Gorgon suits, which eventually saw them almost entirely phased out. However, volunteers for this painful modification were plentiful in the X Legion's ranks, many deeming it an honour to serve as part of this great endeavour.

Tartaros Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour


A Terminator of the Pre-Heresy Thousand Sons Legion in Tartaros Pattern Terminator Armour.

Tartaros Pattern Terminator Armour was originally developed concurrently with several other patterns of Tactical Dreadnought Armour towards the closing years of the Great Crusade.

The extreme rarity of these suits means that at present, these invaluable suits of armour are reserved only for the most well-regarded Veterans of a Chapter's already highly-skilled 1st Company.

Perhaps the most advanced form of Terminator Armour ever designed, the Tartaros Pattern shares many systems with the Mark IV Maximus Pattern of power armour, and provides an incredible range of movement for its wearer compared to the Indomitus Pattern, with no loss in durability or protection.

Of the shared characteristics between the Tartaros and Maximus Pattern armours, the most obvious is the helmet, though there are other more subtle ones such as the design of the armour on the back of the Tartaros' legs or the vambrace and gauntlets.

The Tartaros Pattern also seems to share design characteristics with the Contemptor Dreadnought, most especially in the design of the torso plates. There are also characteristics inherited or derived from the venerable Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour, the pauldrons being the more obvious of these.

Aegis Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour


A Grey Knights Terminator outfitted in Aegis Terminator Armour.

The Aegis Terminator Armour used by the Space Marines of the Grey Knights Chapter is similar to the standard Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour, but is inscribed with a complex suite of protective prayers, runes and other wards which are psychically charged by a psychoconductive matrix to provide better protection for a Grey Knight Astartes from the sorcerous powers of Daemons and other servants of Chaos.

The only major difference between Aegis Terminator Armour and the standard Indomitus Pattern besides the extra layer of psychic protection is the suit's Crusader Helmet, which has been constructed to be very similar to that used by the ancient Mark III Iron Pattern suit of power armour to provide even more protection.

Saturnine Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour

This pattern of Terminator Armour has been described as being functionally identical to both the Tartaros and Indomitus Patterns, so any differences between them seem to be functionally aesthetic.

Its creation was conceived at the same time as those suits. Little else is known about the Saturnine Pattern at this time save that few examples of this armour pattern are still known to exist.

Arkonak Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour

A rare pattern of Terminator Armour about which almost nothing is currently known. It is said that the Minotaurs Chapter of Astartes possesses suits of this design.

Vulkan's Master-crafted Tactical Dreadnought Armour

During the Great Crusade, the primarch Vulkan personally crafted twenty suits of special Tactical Dreadnought Armour for the Salamanders Legion. This Terminator war-plate was far broader and taller than standard Legionary power armour, and these had an additional exoskeletal frame carrying slanted plates of extra armour, all decorated in the dark green livery of the Salamanders.

Their left hands were fashioned in a variety of powered fists, claws and chainblades designed for close combat, anti-armour assault and bulkhead-cutting, and in the right they carried an assortment of weapons ranging from simple Combi-bolters to triple-barrelled Autocannons, plasma chargers and Missile Launchers, as well as rarer weaponry such as a Volkite Culverin.

But what really set these Terminator Armour prototypes apart were the additional advanced weapon systems mounted across the backpacks and shoulders of the Salamanders Terminators. A plethora of armour-piercing missiles, Lascannons, Multi-meltas and even a Conversion Beamer wielded by these suits.

Each of these advanced weapons could be fired simply by a thought from the Terminator, as the suits also were outfitted with an MIU system similar to that used by the princeps of Imperial Titans.

It is unknown what happened to these suits following the Horus Heresy.

Marks I, II, and III Tactical Dreadnought Armours

Early in the Great Crusade, the ancient Mechanicum developed a number of prototype Tactical Dreadnought Armours that went through three marks of improvement before the final pattern of what became the Cataphractii design was settled upon and entered into production.

Some of these suits of early Terminator Armour were later held as treasured relics by the Chapters of the Second Founding.

Chaos Terminator Armour

Night Lords Terminator 3

A Night Lords Chaos Space Marine in Chaos Terminator Armour.

After the Traitor Legions were driven from the realms of Mankind into the Eye of Terror during the Great Scouring following the climactic end of the Horus Heresy, suits of Terminator Armour became even rarer.

As each Legion of Chaos Space Marines fought one another for dominance in the endless internecine struggles for dominance or favour of their patron Chaos Gods, many of their most prized relics and artefacts of technology were lost due to attrition.

As the Chaos Space Marines succumbed to the powers of the Warp, much of the organisation and structure of their former Astartes Legion or Chapter has disappeared.

Therefore, suits of Terminator Armour have become their most prized wargear -- carefully maintained and guarded jealously by those fortunate few who have been in possession of these rare examples of advanced technology from a bygone era.

Amongst the Traitor Legions that still reside within the hellish realms of the Eye, only aspiring Chaos Champions or Chaos Lords who stand in great favour to the Ruinous Powers wear Terminator Armour.

So scarce is Terminator Armour that sometimes an Aspiring Champion can only claim a suit for himself by killing the current wearer, whether in ritual combat or by more devious means.

Chaos Terminators will often act as the personal guard of such an esteemed Champion. Within the warband, they enforce the will of their leader and take the first pick of the spoils of victory.

Unique Terminator Armour Suits

  • Serpent's Scales - The Serpent's Scales was a unique suit of Terminator Armour worn by the primarch Horus. One of the first prototypes of its kind, it was constantly improved by the Fabricator-General Kelbor-Hal and the greatest artificers of the Imperium. The Serpent's Scales was decorated with a pelt from a wolf Horus slew on Davin, where he later first turned to Chaos.
  • The Logos - The Logos was a unique and highly customised suit of Terminator Armour that was designed and worn by Primarch Perturabo of the Iron Warriors Legion. It contained sophisticated command and control systems which linked him cybernetically to all the forces under his command; as well as a shifting array of weapons and secondary systems created by his own intellect. These included a Teleport Homer and twin-linked wrist cannon that could fire a variety of ammunition types.
  • Medusan Carapace - The Medusan Carapace was a suit of Terminator Armour designed by the primarch Ferrus Manus of the Iron Hands Legion that was worn by Manus during the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V. More than a simple suit of Terminator Armor, it possessed many servo mechanisms and support systems to aid the primarch in many of his more technical activities.
  • Armour of Mars - The Armour of Mars was a suit of Terminator Armour worn by the Primarch Angron of the World Eaters Legion that was created by adding new systems and materials to the suit of gladiatorial armour he had originally worn as a slave on his homeworld of Nuceria.

See Also


  • Chapter Approved 2001: Second Book of the Astronomican, "Crux Terminatus" & "Cult Terminators", pp. 55, 58-59
  • Citadel Journal 36, "Talons of Death: New Wargear", pp. 64-71
  • Citadel Journal 45, "Space Marine Archive: Terminators", pp. 10-15
  • Codex: Adeptus Custodes (8th Edition), pp. 39, 65
  • Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), "Chaos Space Marine Terminators" & "Terminator Weapons", pp. 30, 73
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), "Chaos Terminators", pg. 10
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), "Chaos Terminators" & "Armour", pp. 28, 86
  • Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 63
  • Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pg. 8
  • Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 25, 31
  • Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 64, 84
  • Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 61
  • Dark Heresy: Daemon Hunter (RPG), pp. 71, 134
  • Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 164
  • Imperial Armour Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpehus, pg. 133
  • Index Astartes IV, "Deep Strike - Tactical Dreadnought Armour"
  • Space Hulk: Mission Book (3rd Edition), pp. 39-41
  • Space Hulk: Rulebook (3rd Edition), pp. 19-22
  • The Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Artbook), pp. 33, 45, 52, 61-62, 65, 67, 78, 111-112, 138, 176, 189, 229, 235, 239-240, 243, 262-263, 274-275, 303, 352, 367
  • The Horus Heresy Book One: Betrayal (Forge World Series), by Alan Bligh, pp. 70, 196, 237, 247, 255
  • The Horus Heresy Book Two: Massacre (Forge World Series), by Alan Bligh, pp. 49, 53, 57, 61, 75, 77, 102, 123, 144, 228, 232, 235, 249
  • The Horus Heresy Book Three: Extermination (Forge World Series), by Alan Bligh, pp. 70-71, 92, 97, 119, 144, 252, 257, 261
  • The Horus Heresy Book Four: Conquest (Forge World Series), by Alan Bligh, pp. 148, 154
  • The Horus Heresy Book Seven: Inferno (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 61, 242, 261
  • The Wolf of Ash and Fire (Short Story) by Graham McNeill
  • Warhammer 40,000 Compendium (2nd Edition), pp. 11-18
  • Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pg. 68
  • White Dwarf 109 (US), "Terminator Squads", pp. 32-33
  • White Dwarf 112 (US), "Terminator: Space Marine Tactical Dreadnought Armour", pp. 11-20
  • White Dwarf 113 (US), "Space Hulk: 1st Ed. Preview", pp. 34-39
  • White Dwarf 114 (US), "Grey Knight Terminator Squads" & "Cyclone; Terminator Missile Launcher", pp. 11-15
  • White Dwarf 115 (US), "Command Units: Space Hulk 1st Ed.", pp. 20-31
  • White Dwarf 117 (US), "Close Assault: Terminator Close Combat Weapons", pp. 65-69
  • White Dwarf 121 (US), "Traitor Terminators: Part 1 - Chaos Terminators", pp. 27-33
  • White Dwarf 122 (US), "Traitor Terminators: Part 2 - Chaos Terminators", pp. 26-35
  • White Dwarf 134 (US), "Space Crusade: Terminators", pp. 4-11
  • White Dwarf 142 (US), "Questions and Answers: Aegis Suit", pp. 12-19
  • White Dwarf 158 (US), "Return to Kalidus: Campaign for The Wolf Guard, Space Wolf Terminators", pp. 30-35
  • White Dwarf 161 (US), "Deathwing Terminators", pp. 4-7
  • White Dwarf 181 (US), "Space Marine Terminators: Tactical Dreadnought Armour", pp. 37-39
  • White Dwarf 303 (US), "Index Astartes: Deep Strike", "Crux Terminatus" & "Rise of the Marinies", pp. 18-23, 24-29, 30-35
  • White Dwarf 304 (AUS), "Rise of the Marines: A Brief History of Terminators", "Deep Strike"
  • White Dwarf 304 (US), "Rise of the Terminators"
  • White Dwarf 305 (UK), "Crux Terminatus"
  • Horus Rising (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pg. 161
  • Horus Heresy: Legion (Mobile Game), "Barban Falk" In-Game Card
  • Shattered Legions (Anthology) edited by Laurie Golding, "Deeds Endure" by Gav Thorpe
  • Forge World - Death Guard Deathshroud Terminators
  • Forge World - Tartaros Pattern Terminator Armour
  • Forge World - Iron Hands Legion Gorgon Terminators
  • Forge World Salamanders Legion Firedrakes
  • Forge World - Sons of Horus Justaerin Terminators
  • Forge World - World Eaters Legion Red Butchers
  • Warhammer Community - Grim Dark Corners: Tactical Dreadnought Armour
  • Warhammer Community - A Mindblowing New Edition of Warhammer 40,000 is Coming